How to make traditional Seville orange marmalade

Lindsey Bareham

Every year I make enough marmalade for my two sons and their families with plenty left over for giving away and using in my cooking.


4 litres


  • 10 Seville oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 2 kg sugar, 500g of which is preserving sugar


Simmer the whole oranges and lemons, covered, in the given water until the skin is very soft; this takes between 40 minutes and two hours depending on the fruit. I use a smaller upturned saucepan lid that fits comfortably inside the pan to keep the fruit immersed but a plate and can of beans is a good alternative.

Piercing the oranges after about 20 minutes encourages immersion but rotate the fruit if not fully immersed.

Lift the soft fruit into a colander over a bowl and leave to cool.

Tip the sugar into the hot orange water, stirring to dissolve. This takes several minutes but continue until the liquid is clear and no sugar catches on the bottom of the pan.

Quarter the soft, cooled fruit and pile into a mixing bowl.

Use your fingers or a teaspoon to pinch out the seeds and pith into a second bowl. Tip this debris into a jelly bag or fold of muslin. Tie securely with white string and hang over the side of the pan.

Slice or chop the peel in your preferred thickness. Do not worry about the thick pith as this will melt to thicken the marmalade.

Stir the peel into the liquid. Bring the marmalade to simmer over your largest burner – I use the wok burner - stirring thoroughly and constantly with a long wooden spoon to avoid sticking points.

Once the marmalade begins to simmer, increase the heat and boil hard, stirring occasionally, until setting point is reached. This varies depending on the fruit and may be as little as five minutes, but more likely to be 15 or even longer.

Once it begins to look syrupy, test by placing a teaspoonful on a saucer. Cool then push with your finger. If it wrinkles it’s done.

Lift out the jelly bag, suspend over the pan and squeeze as much juice out as possible.

Stir again. Leave the marmalade to settle for five minutes. Stir again and pour, or ladle, the seemingly runny marmalade into hot, sterilized jam jars.

Leave for five minutes then cover and cool. Rinse and dry the sticky jars. Label and leave for 24 hours to set before storing.

Ready to eat immediately.

Serving tips

Apart from smearing marmalade over bread and butter pudding, have you tried it with rice pudding instead of jam, or putting marmalade at the bottom of a sponge pudding?

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